HA NOI — Health sector standards are expected to improve when new policies relating to an increase in health service fees and staff allowances come into effect on April 15.
Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien made the statement at a conference in Ha Noi yesterday.
According to Tien, a 13-14 per cent fee increase at more than 400 medical centres would create additional income to be used in improving standards.
The Government would support ethnic minority residents, those living in social support centres and poor patients suffering from chronic diseases who were unable to afford the additional costs.
The Government has also agreed to increase the allowances for medical staff working in State-owned medical units or those involved in epidemic prevention activities by 3-4 times.
Director of Bach Mai General Hospital Nguyen Quoc Anh, the biggest hospital in the north with more than 1,400 beds, said the new policies would be positive for both the health sector and patients.
However, the director was also concerned that while medical staff were generally happy with the move, hospitals bosses were faced with the prospect of paying them more in allowances.
According to the director, the State currently pays for about 20 per cent of all salaries and allowances at State-owned hospitals, while hospitals have to make up the remainder.
Nguyen Huu Loc, head of the planning section of the Quang Ngai General Hospital in the central province of the same name, said that the increased allowances would be a financial burden for provincial and district hospitals.
Ministry of Health statistics say that hospitals examined and treated nearly 130 million patients last year, an increase of 6.7 per cent compared with 2010. Of which, 68.6 million visits were paid for by the health insurance fund, an increase of 116 per cent compared with the previous year. The total number of hospital beds was up 7.5 per cent year-on-year at 187,716. — VNS